In his new book "Point West: The Political History of the Guanacaste National Park Project," the former Minister of Environment and Energy under President Óscar Arias tells of Oliver North's airstrip in Guanacaste and the Arias administration's fight to turn it and the forest around it into a national park.
My impression of Gary Webb was that, in addition to being a novice to tumultuous Central American politics, he was dead set on his thesis that the Contras originated the crack cocaine epidemic in the United States.
Dark Alliance rattled a lot of cages – it led to a Congressional investigation, and ultimately a CIA Inspector General’s report, which would corroborate some of Webb’s findings. But the San Jose Mercury News’ scoop also shook up a lot of the newspaper world. The New York Times, L.A. Times, and The Washington Post all went after Gary Webb to tear down his credibility and that of the story.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, 1986, a young Sandinista soldier named José Fernando Canales Alemán sighted a Fairchild C-123K cargo plane in Nicaraguan airspace near the Costa Rican border. He fired a Russian-made shoulder mounted SAM-7 surface-to-air missile and brought down the plane. One man survived. His name was Eugene Hasenfus, and his subsequent capture by Sandinista forces led to the unraveling of a complex web now called “The Iran-Contra Affair.”
On Aug. 7, 1987, five Central American presidents signed a peace accord known as Esquipulas II, named after the city in Guatemala where the first round of meetings had taken place the previous year. The accord included a number of provisions for cooperation between the five countries, and most notably, it called for an end to support for “irregular forces” by all of the signatories.